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Child deaths due to abuse or neglect: statistics briefing

Publication date April 2024

How many children die due to abuse or neglect?

This briefing looks at what data and statistics are available about child deaths due to abuse or neglect.

Official measures are likely to be underestimations of the number of children who die due to abuse or neglect for a number of reasons, including:

  • the legal complexity of proof of homicide
  • misdiagnosed cause of death
  • abuse not being the immediate cause of death, but being a contributing factor
  • cause of death remaining unknown or unexplained.

However, based on the number of child homicides recorded by the police each year, we know that, on average, at least one child is killed a week in the UK.

Statistics briefing: child deaths due to abuse or neglect
Download the briefing (PDF)

Findings from the data

  • In the last five years there was an average of 52 child deaths by assault or undetermined intent a year in the UK.
  • Children under the age of one are the most likely age group to be killed by another person, followed by 16- to 24-year-olds.
  • Child homicides are most commonly caused by the child’s parent or step-parent.

Further reading

Find published reports looking at child abuse and neglect statistics in the NSPCC Library by using the keywords: "statistics", "child abuse prevalence" and "child abuse incidence".

> Search the NSPCC Library